Are scientists and policymakers getting too comfortable when generating and applying forest-related data and knowledge? What conditions can take them out of their comfort zones to generate more interdisciplinary research and policies that are both legitimate and representative? The politics of knowledge around forests was a topic of heated debate at this year’s International Forest Policy Meeting (27-29 April 2022), with the session on “Science-Policy-Society interactions within Europe” ending with a provocative call for the production and use of so-called “uncomfortable knowledge”.
Author: Priscila Jordão
It is common practice to celebrate Earth Day by highlighting the vast array of habitats on Earth and the ecosystem services they provide – but…
Interview with Lisa Hafer, WaldHaus Freiburg, on the role of forest education
Forestry isn’t a topic usually taught in schools, and despite its relevance to climate change mitigation and adaptation, the dilemmas of a forester might sometimes seem too intricate and technical to explain to a general audience. In Germany, however, since Education for Sustainable Development started being officially incorporated into school curricula in 2016, teachers received an incentive to bring forest-related topics into the classroom and take students on excursions to the forest.
To enable deeper discussions on the role of forests in climate protection, the forest education centre Stiftung WaldHaus Freiburg, in Germany’s Black Forest, installed a “junior” marteloscope site in cooperation with the European Forest Institute and the Integrate Network near its building in the city of Freiburg, where teachers and students can now see real-life examples of the economic and ecological values of trees. Almost 60 trees from eight species were mapped on the site, and a tablet app allows the visualisation and comparison of different attributes of each tree, giving visitors a concrete idea of how forestry decisions are made, and priorities established in forest management.
Do climate adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation goals walk hand in hand when it comes to the management of Europe’s forests? Or are they closely related, but essentially different pursuits?
As the climate and biodiversity crises aggravate, forest ecosystems are at the interplay of multiple and often competing policy priorities, resulting both in synergies and in trade-offs. These pose challenges not only to policymakers but also to private forest owners, who own 60% of the forests in Europe and face difficult choices ahead as they aim for more resilient forest ecosystems while preserving their productivity.
To unravel the complexities of the topic, EFI and IUCN invited representatives from the EU Commission, academia, and the advocacy and policy arenas to debate key issues related to integrated forest management at the webinar “Are climate change adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European forests: two sides of the same coin?”, hosted on the 2nd of March 2022. The event was organised within the framework of the SINCERE Horizon 2020 project and of the Integrate Network, which were introduced by Marko Lovric, SINCERE project coordinator and Senior Researcher at EFI’s Bioeconomy Programme, and Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of EFI’s Bonn Office and Resilience programme, representing the Integrate Secretariat.